E-ZTax: Tax Salience and Tax Rates
This paper tests the hypothesis that the salience of a tax system affects equilibrium tax rates. To do this, I analyze how toll rates change after toll facilities adopt electronic toll collection. Unlike manual toll collection, in which the driver must hand over cash at the toll collection plaza, electronic toll collection automatically debits the toll amount as the car drives through the toll plaza, thereby plausibly decreasing the salience of the toll. I find robust evidence that toll rates increase following the adoption of electronic toll collection. My estimates suggest that, in steady state, toll rates are 20 to 40 percent higher than they would have been without electronic toll collection. Consistent with the hypothesis that decreased tax salience is responsible for the increase in toll rates, I also find evidence that the short run elasticity of driving with respect to the actual toll declines (in absolute value) following the adoption of electronic toll collection. I consider a variety of alternative explanations for these results and conclude that these are unlikely to be able to explain the findings.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2007|
|Publication status:||published as Amy Finkelstein, 2009. "E-ZTAX: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 969-1010, August.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983.
"A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
- Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kearney, Melissa Schettini, 2005. "The Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(2), pages 281-302, June.
- Christopher Timmins, 2002. "Measuring the Dynamic Efficiency Costs of Regulators' Preferences: Municipal Water Utilities in the Arid West," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 603-629, March.
- Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "The Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling," NBER Working Papers 11234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dollery, Brian E & Worthington, Andrew C, 1996. " The Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Illusion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 261-297, September.
- Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
- Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 144, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," NBER Working Papers 6789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Sappington & J. Sidak, 2003. "Incentives for Anticompetitive Behavior by Public Enterprises," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(3), pages 183-206, May.
- Hau, Timothy D., 1992. "Congestion charging mechanisms for roads : an evaluation of current practice," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1071, The World Bank.
- repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226264141 is not listed on IDEAS
- Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)